Sunday, September 14, 2014

Has the blogger inside of me died?

I fear the blogger inside of me has died little by little as time has gone by and life has changed pace on me.

Did Instagram, with it's quick, of-the-moment-photo capability and tidbit of wordy accompaniment kill it?  Or is the season of life I find myself in- mother to a teen and almost teen, to blame?

There was a time when I had gobs of time.  (Ironically I didn't think that I did.) I had full days when my car never left the garage.  I chased small people around the house, kept them entertained, taught, loved, well fed and cared for.  I took breaks to my computer and fell in love with blogging.  It was 2008... a simpler time.  (grin)

Flash forward to this past weekend.  My man and I threw overnight gear for a few days into bags, told the kids to pack theirs, and with very little forethought, we piled into the car, crossed the border into Canada and spent three days adventuring, exploring, bike riding, cab hopping, and memory making in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. 

Guess how many times I pulled out my camera.  Like.  Two times.  I considered it many other times because there were so many cool shots I could have gotten and so many freeze frame moments I would have loved to capture...but we were so busy doing things.  Things I didn't want to interrupt.  We took a trolley, hopped off in Gastown for dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory then wandered around by the famous steam clock and watched a bride and groom get photographed in front of it.  I pulled out my camera for evening photos and the pure challenge of it, and came away with a few fun shots.  The next day we rented bikes and then rode the seawall all around Stanley park and beyond.  It was beautiful and the perfect September weather.  There were so many amazing sights I could have stopped and photographed but I just didn't feel like it.  After biking all day the hoodlums wanted to swim for almost three hours, then we had one of the most memorable dinners ever, at a fun restaurant.  They swam again the next day before we headed home and had a birthday party with my extended family. 



I would never have believed I could participate in all of that fun and not feel much like photographing it.


When I chat about blogging with some of my other blogger friends, I am finding they are saying the same kinds of things.  Our kids are getting older and (dare I admit it...) we're falling in love with Instagram, maybe just a little more than blogging these days.  Some of the similar comments I hear from them when we have this conversation are that "it seems there are fewer people reading blogs, fewer bloggers hitting publish with regularity, and even fewer leaving comments."   The connections made are wonderful and I have personally made a few life long friends that I would never have had the chance to meet if not for blogging.  But, I have noticed the decline in the blog world as well and it makes me wonder... is blogging kind of becoming old news "out there?

I blog a lot less and I don't feel bad about it in the least.  I do what works, when it works.  When it feels like pressure or work I back far away and once it becomes fun again I jump back in.  I don't think I'll ever quit completely but who knows.  I also see and hear things constantly about comparisons and I know some people can't stand reading about someone's (seemingly) "perfect" life, (which of course is false but photos can say anything we want them to say, can't they?) 

Has the polish dulled somewhat on the shiny blog world we see served up all over our computers and phones?  I would love to know what your thoughts are on this topic.  

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Chalkboard Crock pot, etc.

Today I am so excited to share a cute and quick idea with you. The chalkboard crock pot!! It was a big hit on Instagram when I shared the other day and I got a lot of questions as to how I did this.  First of all, it was ugly.  So very ugly.  Now they make sleek stainless ones with self timers and high tech jazz but until this old school version breaks on me... she's what I'm stuck with.

And is there anything better than knowing you've got dinner going at 9 am? I think not.

Mine had a removable insert though I'm guessing you could do this on any crock pot since you never fully submerge them in water anyway. 

Step 1- VERY IMPORTANT- clean all grease off outside of crock pot. 
Step 2- Tape off every place you do not want painted.  I kept the handles and top and bottom edges and knob taped off. I used really good painters tape and had zero bleed through.  I recommend spending more to get the best quality painters tape. Do it and thank me later.
Step 3- Prime entire crock pot with spray paint primer. (I got mine at Lowes) It is a gray color and I only needed one coat.  I let this dry an entire day even though it was dry to the touch.  I didn't want any flaking off later.
Step 4- Coat with chalk board spray paint (also at Lowes) and let dry 24 hrs, then spray second coat. Let dry another 24 hours.
Step 5- Untape and season chalk surface by placing chalk sideways on crock pot surface and rubbing all over, then erasing.

**NOTES: I don't recommend using a chalk pen on this as they have a way of becoming permanent with spray painted chalk surfaces in my experience. (I did use one for "off" "med" and "high" because that's okay to be permanent.)

**It worked just fine and the heat didn't have any impact on the chalk surface.  Overall, I am so happy I did this!  
 Thank you for all the birthday wishes.  I was spoiled ridiculously rotten by my people.  We still have a bit more celebrating to do the back half of this week because why have a birthDAY when you can have a birthWEEK, I always say.  More to come on that...

(I wrote these sayings with a calligraphy pen and filled them with baggies of marshmallows and grahams and a hershey bar.  I put the little toasting sticks under the folds and then secured it with washi tape.  We probably won't use the toasting sticks because you know kids and open flames.  We'll see.  Ha!)
 School is in full swing.  This is a regular sight just before dinner. 
 I scored more brown transferware for my collection at a consignment store and if I told you how much they were you would just die... they were SO inexpensive.  I couldn't walk away!!!  These are big and small platters... Now I'm on the hunt for a few more dinner plates.  I love how none of them match! 
 I have a project in the works right now.  It took me forever to get the right color but in the end I went with Duck Egg (not pictured) by Annie Sloan.  Not sure when this will be finished but hopefully next week!  I'll be sure and share when I'm done!

 And don't forget you have til the end of the week to get 25% off any items from my shop- just use the code "CELEBRATE" when you check out!! (click here to shop!) 

Happy Thursday to you all & see you next week with more fun! 

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Going back blues & my BIRTHDAY!

 School started and everyone survived.  I had to include the hoodlums first day pics because I'm a blogger and that's kind of tradition even though the first day was now days ago.  (I actually began this post on the second day of school but life happened and here I am today on Friday.)
I realize, that at this stage of the game I simply can't fight every battle, hence my son's long musician haircut (or rather, lack of haircut) with hat ON, and the backpack my daughter insisted on. That holds nothing.  It was a ridiculous scene in a mall and I gave in (gave up) because my man was catching my eye, mouthing, "let it go...she will learn."  (I still thought it was the most ridiculous excuse for a backpack when it's basically more of a large purse with straps and is too small to hold her binder or instrument or anything else besides her lunch.  I'm just saying.) (I knew that if she lost that binder, I'd be the one dealing with the mess of the whole thing...) (Afterward, I was marching around the kitchen proudly proclaiming to Adrain that though I didn't die on that particular hill, he may as well  have killed me with "the handwriting on the wall.") (Sometimes I can be a tad dramatic.)
Then I got over it and we started school.

She walked in from school on the second day, and her brother pulled her sweatshirt out of HIS backpack and handed it to her.  I stood there for a second watching and then I couldn't help myself from (casually) asking, "Why do you have her sweatshirt in your backpack?"  Because my son wasn't privy to the whole thing, he honestly and innocently  responded, "Oh because Ava didn't have room in her backpack."

I immediately texted Adrain that I was suffering the effects of itoldyousoitis.  

I won't lie- it was secretly gratifying but all I did was look at Ava with perhaps a slightly raised eyebrow and quietly said, "Hmmm."

I believe my very mature response spoke volumes. 

I have laughed and laughed behind the scenes, and my daughter is just stubborn enough that I'm sure she will use that backpack all year long simply for the principle of the thing.  (But I bet next year she'll ask for a regular sized one.) (And someday we are going to have the funniest conversation about the "year of the backpack" together.)

My man who knows me best, called mid morning on the first day to make sure I was holding up alright, when just 24 hours previously I had been rolling my eyes and biting my tongue and counting down the hours until they could go back and "quit all this fighting for crying out loud!"

Kids.  They are my heart, for better or for worse and in spite of handkerchief sized backpacks.
Finally, I'm  having a birthday on Monday!  I'm turning 39. Whoop!  This is my final year in my thirties and even though I know I'm a grown up and shouldn't love my own birthday.... I DO! 

I thought we'd celebrate together by having a little sale!!  So for the next week (my BIRTHDAY WEEK) I am offering you all 25% off any order from my shop, if you use the coupon code "CELEBRATE" when you check out here!  I've got fall prints, holiday prints, and of course wrapped canvases just waiting for you! (click here to shop!)

YIpPeE!  Celebrate with ME!

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Peeping around the house with the best laid plans. Keeping it real edition.

It has been some time now, since we had one of our random chats about life, with random photos that I took five minutes ago, so that if you walked in you'd see pieces of our life (and yes you would see a few fall items peeping out already) and we'd probably talk about the following; Keeping it real. 

Yes, let's.

Yesterday, I brought home a 1000 piece puzzle, dumped it out on the dining room table, and then promptly forgot what kind of personalities exist in this household.  Type A, Git-er-done-now, creative thinker types.  We couldn't stop working on it because we were possessed with puzzle-itis, and once we had convinced the kids to release their grubby little fingers and go to bed, Adrain and I snuck back into the dining room and worked on it some more while yawning and trying to peel ourselves away from the magnetic pull of jigsaw addiction and go to bed ourselves.  We could barely keep our eyes open but we couldn't stop.  It was so fun it was almost stressful. 

Which brings me to this.  As parents... why are so many things in life like that?  So fun they are almost stressful?  Like going on vacation.  Or doing a fun day trip someplace, for instance.  Sounds so good on paper until you're on the way home and one kid accidentally makes contact with the other kid in the nose because they were playing some stupid slap game back there (why?) and now there's a bloody nose all over the backseat and their brand new hat just got ruined because they felt like taking it off in the midst of the bloody chaos (literally) and putting it in their lap (why?) and now I'm trying to staunch the bleeding while remaining sort of seat belted, hanging over the front seat yelling, "Did you see what you just did?!" to the smacker, (why?) (of course they saw it) while the smack-ee is totally freaking out now because they are sure they are dying through their nose. 

So fun it's stressful. 

Which I think, spoke volumes for our summer.  Don't get me wrong, we did some really fun things but most of those fun things were peppered with "other moments."  I'm coming to realize that those "other moments" don't mean my family is a freak, they just don't show up on Instagram feeds and the memory of them fades with time for the most part.  My friends all claim this same phenomenon.  Which is why we all try another vacation eventually.  You have forgotten those "so fun they were almost stressful" and "other moment" moments- kind of like labor.

We had such great plans for so many more really crazy fun events than we ever followed through on for this summer. Big plans.  Wild, far-reaching plans.  Impossible plans really, when you get down to brass tacks because who can fit that all in (and stay sane) with all of the pre-teen and teenage hormones raging in a toilet bowl-like swirl around you?  (I can't even imagine all the FUN we would have experienced had our every jaunt out of town, our every day trip and every gathering actually come to pass.) 

  And speaking of gatherings, we had this grandiose plan at the end of the school year, last spring, to invite people that we didn't know that well to come over.  We wanted to have someone over at least twice a month. For dinner or a campfire or something.  Guess how many times we did that?


We even went to so far as to make a list of potential people we wanted to get to know better!  I threw it away last week when I gave up all hope of accomplishing really any of those big plans over this summer since summer is practically finished on Tuesday when the hoodlums go back to school.  It makes me laugh.  Then it makes me cry.  Which I believe means that I am probably stuck in that swirling toilet bowl of hormones along with both of my kids.  

But fear not... because I have really big plans for October, New Year's eve and the 4th of July.

I'm convinced it will be really fun.  

The End. 

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

From the Studio (and beyond of course.)

Hi Sweet things!! School is almost here...coming on Tuesday.  I'm kind of dragging myself across the start line at this point but we're going to get there one way or another aren't we?  (grin) Maybe if I hadn't decided I needed to marathon through Downton Abbey seasons 1-4 the last 2 weeks I might be better prepared.  Um. Yes, well, it is, what it IS.  Ha!

Will you bear with me today if we talk a bit of shop?  It's been ages since I did a post on this sort of things so I hope you don't mind so very much... That said, I've been working in my shop today, getting a few items underway for their Fall/Winter debut and I'm sharing them with you here right now! I recently decided to put a few prints away permanently and they are currently listed at half price, as "LAST CHANCE" items, until my stock is gone.  Most of the items I am showing you here are only available over the next few months, as "LIMITED TIME" items. 

I'm starting with my favorite.   This little acorn variety print.  I won't lie to you- it's already hanging in my hallway.  Yes, yes, it is. I couldn't resist!!

(Click here to shop!)
     For those who wanted an "orange" pumpkin in the collection.  You know who you are! 
 I love this print so much I can't stand it.  And it's now found it's permanent home right here, over my jewelry.  Such a good reminder... and cute to boot! 
 I've also brought back returning favorites! 
 Always a best seller.  Get it while it's here.  It always makes me smile. 
 Another favorite... I have this available in a variety of canvas sizes and it truly is my very favorite Christmas decor item. 
Alright that's all for me.  I've worked so hard and I hope you just LOVE the new items (and the returning favorites!)  Happy shopping to YOU! (Click here to shop!)

Now wish me luck on getting my act together with school. (At least Downton season 5 doesn't start until January.)

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